Gang aft a-gley

All it takes is for one thing to be off, and there goes my intended schedule!  What is it said, “the best laid plans of mice and men…”?

“…the poem “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns, the 18th century Scottish poet. The full quote, however, is the two-line stanza: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley.” (A free translation of the second line could be: Often go awry or become unraveled.)”


It reminds me of God’s word credited to Solomon.

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. (Psalm 127:1 ESV)

In vain….

Unless my plans are lining up with God’s plans, they will be vainly unraveled.  I think that I often allow things to become unraveled by not holding firm to my commitment to God.  A compromise here and a “just this once” there and down the slippery slope of vanity I fall.

When God tells us to hold tight to what we have regarding our faith, He means it.  We must cling to Jesus and to God’s Word.  Satan wants to snatch it away from us.  When we apply these same concepts to our nation, we see how we have fallen away from God.  We have not held firm to what we had in our faith.  We have not stood strong in the face of opposition.  We have compromised away the very foundation of faith that made our nation great.

It was men who sought God who built this country and it will only be by God’s great grace that we return to Him.  I personally feel that in light of God’s word, we have passed the threshold of grace and schemed and trampled our way through abortion and idol worship into Sodom and Gomorrah.  God’s wrath will be poured out.  His justice will prevail.  We have gone awry.

Our Sunday school discussed what our responsibility is before the LORD.  The question rests on each one of us individually.  What do we need to do now that we have slid so far away?  What must I do today?

For starters we must be faithful to walk in righteousness and draw near to God.  We must abide in His word and obey His commands.  We must raise our children to know the LORD and to walk in His ways.

Will our efforts make a difference?  God can certainly multiply the little we have to offer.  I was reading this morning about Abraham and Sarah and how Abraham’s obedience to God turned into an entire nation of people set apart for God.  What was impossible for Abraham and Sarah to do on their own, God accomplished because of their willing obedience to be used by Him.  God made a covenant with Abraham – the covenant of circumcision – and then God gave Him the promised son through Sarah.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” (Genesis 17:1-2 ESV)

The covenant came after Ishmael was 13 years old.  Isaac was the son of the promise through whom God will honor His blessing of Abraham.

When Sarah made plans to fulfill God’s blessing of a child on her own the plans certainly unraveled before her.  Yet God says that He will bless Ishmael as well; just not for the same plans and purposes that He has for Isaac – the son of the promise.

One day at a time we must cling tightly to what matters most – our relationship with God through Jesus the son.  We need to walk closely with Him.  We need to listen well and with humility to what He wants from us today.  Let us not make plans that will vainly unravel, but let us with great faith, offer to God the little we have of obedience and allow Him to multiply it into greatness for His glory.

Set aside your intentions and ask God what He wants.  You’ll probably be surprised at the answer!  Step out in faith and obedience and watch what God will do!  Be encouraged.  Press on.


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